Munro bagging is becoming an increasingly popular outdoor pursuit. Many of you are getting out there and touring the country to get some magnificent views from the top! Munros are the 282 mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft (914.4m) in Scotland – and people who tick off these peaks are called Munro Baggers.
The original idea was created by Sir Hugh Munro in the late 19th century when he decided to create a list of all 3,000ft mountains in the country, and although he did not have reference to modern GPS technology, he made a very good start on the list we use today. Over the years, thanks to more modern measuring devices, the list has gone up and down, but has now settled on 282 Munro summits.
More than 6,000 people have recorded a round - that’s completing all 282 Munros - with the Scottish Mountaineering Club (although there are probably many more who have not submitted their round for the record books.)
Here's Some Things You Should Know:
1 - Sir Hugh Munro never did end up walking all of the mountains he listed in his Munro Tables. He unfortunately died before managing to do so. Many now follow in his footsteps and hope to feel a sense of his adventurous spirit.
2 - The first person to achieve the feat of climbing all of the mountains on Munro's list is generally regarded as being the Rev. A. E. Robertson in 1901. This has not been confirmed, but is commonly accepted among the munro baggig community.
3 - A person who finishes a full round of the 282 Munros is said to “compleat” and to be a “compleatist”. Many compleatists go on to walk multiple Munro rounds. The current record holder is Steve Fallon with 15 rounds under his belt, while Hazel Strachan is now walking her ninth Munro round.
4 - There is a wide geographic spread of Munros in Scotland. The most southerly is Ben Lomond on the banks of Loch Lomond, while the most northerly is Ben Hope in Sutherland. The Munro located furthest west is Sgurr na Banachdich on the Isle of Skye and the most easterly is Mount Keen in the Grampians. You can make Munro Bagging your adventrue for the year by planning trips to tackle the peaks in a particular area in the one trip.
5 - No two Munros are ever the same and while some can be walked in less than two hours, others take a day just to reach the foot of the mountain. The changing weather conditions in Scotland can mean that even climbing the same peak during different seasons can be a completely different challenge.
6 - The most challenging Munro is often cited as the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Cuillin Ridge on Skye. The "In Pinn" is a fin of rock measuring 150ft along its longest edge and sits on top of the mountain, Sgùrr Dearg. The feeling of exposure when climbing this fin can be over-powering and many people enlist the help of a guide in the Cuillin.
7 - The smaller sibling mountains of the Munros are called the Corbetts. They are Scottish mountains, but with a summit of between 2,500ft and 3,000ft. There is a list of 222 Corbetts that can also be bagged.
8 - Across Britain, there are also 1,556 Marilyns to tackle. A Marilyn is a mountain identified as having a prominence (independent peak) of at least 150m. The list, which is measured metrically, was first compiled in the early 1990s by Alan Dawson in his book The Relative Hills of Britain.
Tips For Bagging A Munro:
Since every Munro is different and the weather in Scotland can change by the minute there is no set recipe for hiking a Munro. You should plan ahead and keep a close eye on the weather forecast to stay safe on the mountains. If the weather looks like making the hike to 3,000ft more difficult than you have experience for, you should change your plan. There is no shame in changing your plans to suit the weather.
It’s vital that you know how to navigate in the mountains and how to cope in challenging weather. Many people learn the right techniques on an outdoors skills course. Look for courses that teach mountain awareness and navigation. Tiso provide courses throughout the year on a range of navigation and mountaineering skils. You can find out more here.
Be prepared for a number of eventualities! Even if you use a GPS device for route finding, a map and compass can be vital because gadgets can stop working. Having good knowledge about how to read a map and compass is a real asset.
Route planning is all part of the fun of Munro bagging and there are various books and website that can assist. Popular books include the SMC guide – The Munros, The Ultimate Guide to the Munros and The Munros Pocket Mountain Guide. Many baggers refer to on-line sources such as Walk Highlands for route planning.
Start with some of the easiest Munros or go out with a more experienced hill walking friend and learn the skills so you can learn more about mountain hiking in Scotland. If you'd prefer, you could join a hill walking or mountaineering club so that you are walking with like-minded people. Some of the groups will have guide-led walks which will help you take the first steps.
You can also join on-line Munro groups such as Munroaming and The Munro Society on Facebook or UKhillwalking. Walking in better weather in the spring, summer and autumn will help you to learn the right skills before you venture into the far less predictable winter weather.
What Kit Might You Need?
If you are already getting out there for adventures, you’ll have a lot of the right gear for Munro bagging. Comfortable clothing that keeps you warm and dry is key to a good outing. Layer up with a number of thinner baselayers for good temperature control and look for lightweight, quick drying and breathable layers and add or take off as your body warms up or cools down.
A mid-layer, such as a lightweight insulated jacket is a useful item of clothing throughout the year, look for mid-layers that are breathable and windproof. In dry weather you can wear it as an outer layer and if it rains you can add a waterproof over the top. High quality waterproof jackets and over-trousers can be essential year round in Scotland. In warmer weather, you can stash these in your rucksack just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
You will need a rucksack that allows you to carry all your kit, including spare clothes, food, water, walking poles and, in winter, crampons and an ice axe if you're tackling the more challenging ascents. The choice of different packs is vast so pop into one of our stores to try out a few to see which has the best fit and capacity for your needs.
Walking boots are essential for mountain hiking. Choose boots to suit the seasons, such as boots specifically designed for two or three seasons. Many people have summer walking boots and another stiffer soled pair – that will allow crampons to be attached – for winter hiking. Fit is very important for comfort so it’s important you try on a variety of boots in store. Our product experts in our stores will be able to give you expert boot fitting and give you advice on the compatibility of crampons.